It has been 25 years since I sat my HSC, and even though I remember thinking I would always remember the experience, a tentative exploration through the files of my mind reveals only remnants. Not surprisingly the most vivid memories are sensual; the piercing chorus of the cicada, the sweet scent of frangipani and the hot, sticky, humidity of a Sydney summer. Emotions also waft subtly through my inquisitive awareness; the utter dread of realizing I had missed a whole question on my English paper (the consequence of a careless mistake) is counteracted by the gleeful joy, shared with two of my classmates as we exchanged furtive smiles across the examination room when the content on the biology paper was reassuringly familiar.
As I reflect, I realize, as I have always known, that tactile experiences and relationships with people have a far greater impact on our future than selected facts gleaned from texts or the ether.
This is message I have for year 12 students earnestly swotting and organising and reorganising their sock draw. Enjoy the experience of the HSC. It is worth all the effort; there is much to be gained from being in a position where you are accountable for your actions. So;
- See the HSC as a positive opportunity; it is your ‘grand final’.
- Stay focused on the moment (rather than looping on ‘what if’ scenarios).
- Examine the emotions you feel. They may seem like nervousness, but, with a little positivity, you will notice how alike they are to excitement. This adrenalin, when purposefully focused, will help you remain alert and proficient.
- Expend restless energy, walk, run, swim – enjoy being in the fresh air.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
- Remember to breathe – meditation is a valuable way to relax and re-energise.
- Finally, perceive study as fun – this is easily achieved by spending some time revising with reliable friends.
The HSC is a beginning; in 25 years, when you reflect back, I wonder what you will remember.